Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, November 25, 2018 - Feast of Christ the King (Christ the King Sunday)


The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, November 25, 2018
Feast of Christ the King (Christ the King Sunday)
(Revised Common Lectionary Year B)

Opening Prayer
Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your holy Spirit from me. Give me the joy of your saving help again and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
~ From Psalm 51

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness
Trusting God's promise of forgiveness, let us confess our sins against God and one another.

Most merciful God, We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have failed to do. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Words of Reassurance
If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
~ 1 John 1:9, NIV


The Lessons

First Reading
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Judgment before the Ancient One
7:9 As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
    and an Ancient One took his throne,
his clothing was white as snow,
    and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
    and its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
    and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousands served him,
    and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgment,
    and the books were opened.

13 As I watched in the night visions,

I saw one like a human being
    coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
    and was presented before him.
14 To him was given dominion
    and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
    should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
    that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
    that shall never be destroyed.

The Psalm
Psalm 93 Dominus regnavit
1 The Lord is King;
he has put on splendid apparel; *
the Lord has put on his apparel
and girded himself with strength.
2 He has made the whole world so sure *
that it cannot be moved;
3 Ever since the world began, your throne has been established; *
you are from everlasting.
4 The waters have lifted up, O Lord,
the waters have lifted up their voice; *
the waters have lifted up their pounding waves.
5 Mightier than the sound of many waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea, *
mightier is the Lord who dwells on high.
6 Your testimonies are very sure, *
and holiness adorns your house, O Lord,
for ever and for evermore.

Second Reading
Revelation 1:4b-8
1:4b Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Look! He is coming with the clouds;
    every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
    and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

So it is to be. Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

The Gospel
John 18:33-37
18:33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”


Here ends the Lessons

Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostle's Creed
We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

We believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Benediction
Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in square brackets.

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.

The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.
Pilate summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

"Not Of This World" The Sermon for SUNDAY, November 25, 2018 - Feast of Christ the King (Christ the King Sunday)


"Not Of This World"

The Holy Gospel comes to us today from John the 18th chapter, beginning at the 33rd verse.

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Dear Heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the gift of life and all that is needed to sustain us from day to day, but we are often unappreciative. You have revealed the depth of your love for us, through the life, death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus the Christ, yet we often fail to share your love with others. Through our baptism, you have claimed us as children of your kingdom, and heirs of eternal life, yet we often fail to express our gratitude for your gift of grace. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, move us to deeper faith, and empower us to live our lives in thanksgiving. We ask this in Christ’s name. Amen.

Think a moment – consider your life – what is your greatest challenge? The greatest challenge, whether it is day to day or the future, might be different for each of us. One thing we might not think about is our greatest challenge today that faces the church and believers. The greatest challenge today for we as believers is to live as believers in a world that challenges Christianity. The greatest challenge today is not to live like the rest of this world, but to live with conviction concerning our Christian faith. This is our greatest challenge!

It was a challenge when Jesus was on the earth. It was a challenge for believers from the very beginning of Scriptures all the way through to present day times. We think of Paul and the early church. Paul first challenged those who were Christians. Then Paul himself was challenged as a Christian, to live as a believer. Christian living is a hard challenge for us today because of the fact that we live in a world that appeals to our senses. We put our confidence and trust in those things that we can see, feel and touch. These are tangible things. When Jesus taught about his kingdom, he taught it is something we cannot see with a naked eye. That is our challenge.

Today, we are going to learn more about that challenge. Paul puts the challenge this way: "Because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18). Now that is quite a challenge, isn’t it? Paul says we look at those things we can’t see. That is the challenge of our Christian life, to fix our eyes on the invisible kingdom of God. On this last Sunday of the church year, we are reminded that Jesus is our King. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus said, what is invisible, "My kingdom is not of this world." We are going to consider that thought—that:

CHRIST’S KINGDOM IS
NOT OF THIS WORLD.

JESUS’ KINGDOM IS SPIRITUAL

These words carry on from Matthew 27:27-31, even though they are in the Gospel of John. It is the same account that continues in both Gospels. Jesus is in his very last day before he is going to be put on the cross. Jesus is standing before Pilate who wants to know, "Why are you here? What have you done?" The people had handed Jesus over to the Roman government, because the church, because the people of the church, could not put anyone to death. They could bring all kinds of charges, but they could not kill Jesus. Jesus’ punishment was something the Roman government had to determine. They are waiting for Pilate to do just that.

Our text begins "Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ’Are you the King of the Jews?’" First, Pilate wanted to know how powerful Jesus was. Was Jesus really a king? Is Jesus the one that controlled this angry mob? Or was he just another Jew? Jesus answers Pilate with a question: "’Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’" Jesus wanted Pilate to think about what he was doing. Was he considering this justice, which was really injustice, because of his own authority and power; or was it because a crowd coerced him? The mob mentality was influencing Pilate. Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I?" Of course, Jesus knew that Pilate was not a Jew.

Pilate reminds Jesus that he was not making the charges. It was Jesus’ own people. Pilate said to Jesus: "Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?" Pilate didn’t know what Jesus had done. Pilate asked the crowd and the chief priests, "Why are you handing Jesus over to me?" The crowd said, "If he were not criminal, we would not hand him over to you." Pilate asked, "What are the charges?" The crowd answered, "Jesus is guilty because he is a criminal." They had no charges, so Pilate was in the dark. What had Jesus done?

Now Jesus begins to tell Pilate something that he would not understand. Pilate would not comprehend the truth about God’s kingdom. "Jesus said, ’My kingdom is not of this world.’" Pilate was ruling over an earthly kingdom. Pilate was temporarily in charge of the Promised Land. "Jesus said, ’My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’" Jesus’ kingdom was from somewhere else. If it were so earthly and so important, Jesus servants would fight for him to be saved.

God’s kingdom was from above and still is. We pray in the Lord’s Prayer, "Thy kingdom come." We pray for God’s kingdom to return, God’s kingdom of power on the Last Day when Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead, when he will separate the sheep from the goats. We pray that in the Lord’s Prayer. We also pray for God’s kingdom of grace to come. This is praying that the word of God would be spread. God’s kingdom is not something we are going to find in one place or another. His kingdom isn’t going to be located at just one throne or one church building or in the heart of one person. Instead, God’s kingdom is in the hearts of every believer. God’s kingdom is located throughout the world, among every Christian who confesses Christ as Savior and King. Jesus says in Luke: "Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed" (Luke 17:20). Jesus went on to say that God’s kingdom is in the hearts of believers. We can’t see into the hearts of believers. We can’t see into the hearts of anyone, but God can. He knows how his kingdom is connected in this world from one believer to the next, throughout the world.

Christ’s kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. That is something the disciples struggled with. It is something that people struggle with today. We see many well-intentioned people who still think that Jesus / God want to control earthly kingdoms for the benefit of believers. This is not necessarily true. God controls the events of mankind. He controls the events of history, but more for his purpose, not our own selfish purposes. God’s kingdom then is concerned with our hearts. We live in a world where people don’t care much about God’s kingdom. People are not challenged to live as if they were servants or believers in God’s kingdom. In Ephesians: "Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Ephesians 5:5). If we had just those few words to describe our society, sadly we would have to say that this describes our nation, doesn’t it? Immoral, impure and greedy! This makes us see that many are not fit for the kingdom of God.

Our challenge today is the same for us, not pointing our finger at anyone else. The same challenge is to look beyond those things which would lead us astray and get our hearts right. Rather than being greedy for ourselves or for the things of this world, we fix our eyes on what cannot be seen--God’s kingdom. Rather than being distracted in this life by impurity and immorality that surrounds us, we are to fix our eyes on that which we cannot see--Christ’s kingdom. Christ’s kingdom is spiritual. How are we going to do that? Some have cut themselves off from society to avoid the wickedness of this world. That works. But it does not work to carry out God’s commission to preach his word to the ends of the earth. So, we are challenged with our new man that God has created in us by faith. We are challenged then to faithfully hear God’s word. We are challenged then to realize our faith is important--the faith that God has planted there by his holy word. We are challenged even when the world might attack. The world says, "If you have your health you have everything. If you have possessions you have everything. If you take care of yourself first and walk over everybody else, who cares?" That is the world speaking, but our faith says "No. Love God above all things." Our faith says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." So we struggle at living in this world. We are challenged to fix our eyes on that which we cannot see. We do it this way: "Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you" (2 Peter 1:10-11).

Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. It is a spiritual kingdom. This is a kingdom which comes in all truth.

JESUS’ KINGDOM COMES IN TRUTH

We remember Pilate, as he is standing there alone with Jesus, the Savior of mankind. Pilate wanted to know if Jesus was a king who would threaten his authority. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." Pilate does not know what to make of this. Pilate says, "So you are a king?" Now, Pilate would have something. Pilate now had a charge in order to condemn Jesus to death. Since Jesus claimed to be a king he was challenging the kingdom of Rome and challenging the authority of Pilate. There was only one authority and ruler--Caesar. There was no room for any other king. But Jesus tried to tell Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world." Pilate would never understand that. The disciples struggled and would struggle with that until the day of Pentecost--the spiritual kingdom. The people also had a hard time understanding that. In fact it was the people in their unbelief who brought Jesus before Pilate. They told Pilate, "Take care of Jesus. Condemn him to death."

Jesus goes on to explain: "Jesus answered, ’You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’" We know how Pilate reacted to that. "’What is truth?’ Pilate asked." The truth was that Jesus was born. The truth was that Jesus was willing, even though he was a king, to be sacrificed on the cross. We heard this truth in the Gospel Lesson (Matthew 27:27-31). The soldiers mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they led Him away to be crucified. That is the truth. That is the truth Pilate could not understand and he would never believe, although he was a very integral part in carrying out the truth of God’s salvation.

Our text ends with these words: Jesus said, "Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Those who were on the side of truth during this time were very few, weren’t there? Pilate was not on the side of truth. Nor were the church leaders, the scribes and Pharisees. The mob that shouted out, "Crucify him" were not on the side of truth. Judas gave up the truth. This ended up with eleven disciples and some women who knew the truth. This small group did not just look at Jesus as a carpenter’s son; but they him as the Son of David, the Savior of mankind.

That is the same truth that is vital to us today. In our society, to admit that Jesus is the Son of God is a leap of faith. There are not very many who do not want to do that. They look at Jesus as the carpenter’s son. They look at Jesus as a good teacher and maybe as one who had some good influence. But you and I look at Jesus as the very Son of God, the Savior of mankind, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, because that is the truth. That is the truth in and of God’s kingdom. Paul describes it this way: "The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost" (1 Timothy 1:15). By grace we know the truth. By this truth we also know that we are the worst of sinners.

Yet, we have the best of kings, don’t we? We have the Savior. Jesus says, "That is why I was born. That is why I came to live, to save sinners from eternal condemnation." Our world is topsy-turvy. Things are not really like they seem to be, are they? There are all kinds of role models in this life. The media holds up for us as examples those who are rich and powerful. Immorality is flaunted. Impurity and greed are boasted about. People and we are then attracted to those things. We can see those things. Our challenge again is to look beyond the things of this life. We are challenged to look to that which is unseen, which is eternal. We realize things are not always as they seem to be. By faith, by grace we are saved. James writes: "Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?" (James 2:5). We could have a whole other sermon on how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. The Lord says the examples that we need to look to are the examples of humble, believing and praying Christians. They are not necessarily well to do, they are not necessarily famous in this world, and they are not necessarily very flashy or talented.

But we study God’s word. Because of this study of God’s word we have a love for God and our fellow man which is something to see. Christian love is one of those things which is eternal. The Lord gives us the opportunity and the challenge. He says, "Look for those things that are unseen." How are we going to do that? Jeremiah says: "Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts." (Jeremiah 15:16). The Lord calls us his children. We are called Christians after the name of Jesus Christ himself. We are to find joy then in God’s Words and eat them with joy and delight. This is also a very great challenge too, isn’t it? Our sinful nature says, "I don’t have time to read my Bible." The devil says, "You do not need to study God’s Word. You don’t need to come to Bible study." That is the reality of the world in which we live. We are too busy, and God’s word can seem not too important. We have other things to do. The challenge is to put our sinful flesh behind us. The challenge is to look to Christ who is the King and to understand the truth of his kingdom is that we are members of God’s kingdom.

We belong to God’s kingdom of grace here on earth because by grace we know the truth. Someday, each of us will go on to the kingdom of glory in heaven forever. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. It is a spiritual kingdom, but it is a kingdom of truth. Earthly kingdoms come and go. Presidents come and go. World leaders rise and fall. God’s kingdom endures. The truth of God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:20-28) says the last enemy to be destroyed is death. God does that for us. At the end of that chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 are the familiar words which say: "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). Our King goes off into battle and defeats death. Our King goes off into battle and defeats the devil. Our King goes off into battle and slays sin, so that you and I are graciously made members of his kingdom. Jesus is our ruling and returning King that we cannot see with the naked eye, but we do see with eyes of faith. Christ’s kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. May we always keep our eyes fixed on what is unseen, the eternal. Amen.

Lord, our God, help us to prepare for the coming of Christ your Son. May he find us waiting, eager in joyful prayer. Grant that we may be ready to receive Christ when he comes in glory and to share in the banquet of heaven, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.
What is your greatest challenge?

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, November 25, 2018 - Feast of Christ the King (Christ the King Sunday)


Prayer for Christ the King Sunday

Oh Jesus, You are the King of Glory, You are the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. And we pray that your Kingdom will reign forever in our hearts and in this world.

Lord, we pray for your Kingdom to come here now, bringing a kingdom of justice, righteousness, hope, love, peace, mercy and grace for all. Lord, we ask that you rule in our hearts, lead in this world and govern over your kingdom.

But Lord honestly, We often have our own plans and agendas and we want to be rulers of our world. Forgive us for those times. And Lord we live in a time that would rather idolize the King of Pop than worship you. Help us to know how to live as your Kingdom People in these times. And Lord there are a lot of Kings in this world who terrorize, over tax, humiliate, over exploit, and abuse those they are to lead. Help us to spread the good news of the different kind of King you are.

Lord, thank you for being a different kind of King. Thank you for your goodness and kindness in our lives. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for your Kingdom that is unlike any Kingdom in this world.
Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, November 25, 2018


Colossians 3:17 (NIV) And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Read all of Colossians 3

Listen to Colossians 3

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un dia a la Vez - Espera tu momento


Espera tu momento

Por tanto, digo: «El Señor es todo lo que tengo. ¡En él esperaré!».

¡Qué difícil nos resulta esperar por cualquier cosa que deseamos que suceda!

La espera significa rendir nuestras fuerzas, nuestro tiempo y desarrollar la paciencia.

Dicen por ahí que «el que espera desespera», pero no se trata de eso. Se trata de ser sabios y saber que aunque ahora nos desesperamos, llegará ese momento tan anhelado.

Hoy mi motivación va mas allá de que logremos todo lo que esperamos. Sé que a veces resulta frustrante haber esperado tanto tiempo por algo para que se deshaga al final. Incluso, nos sucede con la persona que creíamos que sería nuestro cónyuge para toda la vida. Entonces pasa algo de repente y todo se acaba al instante.

Quizá nos parezca que tenemos un trabajo en el que estaremos por mucho tiempo y pensamos que somos los ideales para ciertas posiciones. Sin embargo, con el paso del tiempo los cambios nos llevan a salir de la compañía y los ideales pueden estar en peligro una vez más.

Recuerda, además, que nuestras malas decisiones alteran la estabilidad y pueden alejar lo que ya estaba cerca de parte de Dios. Por eso vale la pena esperar, pues Dios nos dará lo mejor de lo mejor.

Espera tu momento, que cuando llegue, Dios te sorprenderá.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
¡Qué difícil nos resulta esperar por cualquier cosa que deseamos que suceda!

Standing Strong Through the Storm - ASHAMED OF JESUS


ASHAMED OF JESUS

Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
~ Luke 9:26 (NIV)

Young believers in the Lord in Muslim cultures often struggle with the issue of publicly declaring their new faith in Jesus. Shadiya is the youngest of five children in a Muslim family. At the age of eighteen she came in contact with a group of young people in the church of Pastor Jamil. During the summer of 2011, the church was visited by a group of other young Christians. During that time Shadiya decided to follow Jesus.

One day she forgot to hide her Bible and her younger brother found it. He asked his father about this striking book with a large cross prominent on the cover. Father was shocked. He soon found out that Shadiya brought the book into their house.

Initially dumbfounded by the hostile attitude of her father, Shadiya stood firm for what she believed. She admitted that she had become a Christian, that she received the Bible from some friends and that she no longer is a Muslim. Her father interpreted this as denying her identity. This, in his opinion, was a betrayal of the entire family and the Muslim community. In other words, the shame for the family was unbearable. So in her father’s eyes there was only one option; force Shadiya to deny her faith in Christ. “If you refuse to deny your new faith, you are no longer welcome in our home!” he yelled at her. Shadiya still held on to faith in Jesus.

The situation deteriorated even more after her father went to the mosque and shared the “apostasy” of his daughter with the local imam. They decided she had to deny her Christian faith openly and confess the Islamic faith in public. If she refused to do so, she would have to pay with her life. She would be stoned by the Muslim community.

She asked her apostate brother-in-law, Amir, for advice. He suggested that she do what they asked of her and remain a secret follower of Jesus. In her heart she could remain a believer in Christ, although she would openly deny her faith to save her life. Shadiya was not really convinced that this was the right thing to do and was full of doubt. In the end she followed the advice of Amir.

The prospect of becoming a martyr at the age of eighteen was now over but Shadiya remained doubtful about her decision. She and Amir asked Pastor Jamil what he thought about it.

“This could have been an opportunity for the whole family or the entire village to see God working in the life of an eighteen-year-old girl,” he replied. “It is a great challenge to deal with our fear; still we should rely on Jesus, rather than basing our choices on fear.”

The situation for Shadiya now seems less tense but the risk of escalation remains.

RESPONSE: Today I will not allow fear to control me…especially regarding the public declaration of my faith.

PRAYER: Pray for Shadiya and the people surrounding her. Ask our Father to further His kingdom through her and fellow-believers who are cautiously trying to help her to grow in faith.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

LHM Daily Devotions - Lo! He comes with Clouds Descending

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20181125

"Lo! He comes with Clouds Descending"

Nov. 25, 2018

"Those dear tokens of His passion, Still His dazzling body bears, Cause of endless exultation, To His ransomed worshipers. With what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture, Gaze we on those glorious scars!"

This last Sunday of the church year before Advent begins is often when we reflect on the final, glorious return of our ascended Lord and Savior! This hymn paints a vivid picture of a type of eclipse.

Have you ever seen a solar eclipse? (Hopefully, you've never seen one without eye protection!) During an eclipse of our nearest star, we glimpse it behind the Moon's dark shadow. The visible and glowing portion of the Sun, appearing from behind the darkness of the Moon's face -- which is blocking the Sun's blinding light -- produces an extraordinary contrast. We can literally see and appreciate how dark the Moon's shadow is when contrasted against the Sun's glorious rays!

This hymn describes an eclipse something like this. It's a glimpse of what God's saints will experience on the day of Jesus' glorious return. In this hymn we see an eclipse of the Son set against the stark contrast of our human sin. This is the day our Lord in all His glory returns to gather the sin-laden (ashen, dead, funeral-clothed) faithful, in bodily form, back to Him ... forever! Do you get this eclipse? The artistry of the hymnwriter's words juxtapose our bleak and sinful condition against the radiant glory of our Savior.

This isn't just a beautiful illustration of our Savior. This is our Savior! This is how much He loves us. When Christ willingly died for us, He died for all our ugly sins that scarred His glorious body. The inventive lyric, the contrast of light and dark set in this hymn, paint a picture of Jesus' body bearing the "dear tokens of His passion." These earthborn scars -- like the Moon against the Sun -- create an unimaginable eclipse against His glorious body.

As the text says, we are "His ransomed worshipers." Through Jesus' blood He has bought all of us who have turned to Him in faith for the forgiveness of our sins. He has set us free from the damnable power of the devil by His victory at the open tomb. And what a freedom we now have! It leaves us gazing in praise at those
"Those dear tokens of His passion, Still His dazzling body bears, Cause of endless exultation, To His ransomed worshipers. With what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture, Gaze we on those glorious scars!"

This last Sunday of the church year before Advent begins is often when we reflect on the final, glorious return of our ascended Lord and Savior! This hymn paints a vivid picture of a type of eclipse.

Have you ever seen a solar eclipse? (Hopefully, you've never seen one without eye protection!) During an eclipse of our nearest star, we glimpse it behind the Moon's dark shadow. The visible and glowing portion of the Sun, appearing from behind the darkness of the Moon's face -- which is blocking the Sun's blinding light -- produces an extraordinary contrast. We can literally see and appreciate how dark the Moon's shadow is when contrasted against the Sun's glorious rays!

This hymn describes an eclipse something like this. It's a glimpse of what God's saints will experience on the day of Jesus' glorious return. In this hymn we see an eclipse of the Son set against the stark contrast of our human sin. This is the day our Lord in all His glory returns to gather the sin-laden (ashen, dead, funeral-clothed) faithful, in bodily form, back to Him ... forever! Do you get this eclipse? The artistry of the hymnwriter's words juxtapose our bleak and sinful condition against the radiant glory of our Savior.

This isn't just a beautiful illustration of our Savior. This is our Savior! This is how much He loves us. When Christ willingly died for us, He died for all our ugly sins that scarred His glorious body. The inventive lyric, the contrast of light and dark set in this hymn, paint a picture of Jesus' body bearing the "dear tokens of His passion." These earthborn scars -- like the Moon against the Sun -- create an unimaginable eclipse against His glorious body.

As the text says, we are "His ransomed worshipers." Through Jesus' blood He has bought all of us who have turned to Him in faith for the forgiveness of our sins. He has set us free from the damnable power of the devil by His victory at the open tomb. And what a freedom we now have! It leaves us gazing in praise at those glorious scars! In those wounds we see the contrast of the sins of all mankind against His perfect body -- given for our redemption.

It's a picture of God's love for all people.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the separation of light and dark was Your first creation. While the fall of man created another reality of this divide, based on man's original sin, we thank You for Your Son who has redeemed the faithful, through His death on the cross, to bring them back to Your eternal light and back to fellowship with You, now and forever. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

glorious scars! In those wounds we see the contrast of the sins of all mankind against His perfect body -- given for our redemption.

It's a picture of God's love for all people.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the separation of light and dark was Your first creation. While the fall of man created another reality of this divide, based on man's original sin, we thank You for Your Son who has redeemed the faithful, through His death on the cross, to bring them back to Your eternal light and back to fellowship with You, now and forever. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Jay DeBeir. It is based on the hymn, "Lo! He comes with Clouds Descending." Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
This last Sunday of the church year before Advent begins is often when we reflect on the final, glorious return of our ascended Lord and Savior!

Notre Pain Quotidien - Un témoin silencieux

https://www.ministeresnpq.org/2018/11/25/un-temoin-silencieux/

Un témoin silencieux


Ayez au milieu des païens une bonne conduite. V. 12

Amy vit dans un pays où il est interdit de prêcher l’Évangile. Cette infirmière diplômée travaille dans un hôpital, où elle prend soin de nouveau-nés. Elle est si professionnelle qu’elle se distingue par la qualité de son travail, et beaucoup de femmes sont curieuses d’en savoir plus à son sujet. Elles se sentent poussées à lui poser des questions en privé. C’est alors qu’Amy leur parle ouvertement de son Sauveur.

En raison de son bon travail, certaines de ses collègues en sont venues à l’envier et à l’accuser de voler des médicaments. Ses supérieurs ne les ont toutefois pas crues, et les autorités de l’hôpital ont fini par découvrir qui était l’instigatrice de ce coup monté. Cette mésaventure a amené certaines de ses compagnes de travail à l’interroger au sujet de sa foi. Or, son exemple me rappelle les paroles de l’apôtre Paul : « Bien-aimés […] [ayez] au milieu des païens une bonne conduite, afin que, là même où ils vous calomnient comme si vous étiez des malfaiteurs, ils remarquent vos bonnes œuvres, et glorifient Dieu » (1 PI 2.11,12).

 Si nous laissons Dieu agir en nous, dans notre vie familiale, en milieu de travail ou à l’école produit une incidence sur les gens. Nous sommes entourés de gens qui écoutent nos paroles et surveillent nos comportements. Appuyons-nous donc sur Dieu et permettons-lui de diriger nos actions et nos pensées. C’est ainsi que nous influencerons les non-croyants, ce qui pourrait en amener certains à mettre leur foi en Jésus.

Notre vie parle plus fort que nos paroles.


© 2018 Ministères NPQ
Amy vit dans un pays où il est interdit de prêcher l’Évangile.